Generation Z

The days of the Millennial are gone—at least in the educational space. Today’s colleges and universities are targeting the next up-and-coming generation of students, born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Dubbed “Generation Z,” “Centennials” and “Pivotals,” these youths certainly share some similarities with their digital-crazy predecessors, but there are also some key differentiators that marketers should be aware of.

Are you new to marketing to Generation Z? Here are four major facts you should know:

1. They care about causes bigger than themselves.

Much like teens in the ‘60s and ‘70s, today’s youth care about causes—largely social and environmental ones. In fact, according to Fuse Marketing, 37 percent have donated to or volunteered their time to a cause in the last year, and 23 percent have actually boycotted a company or activity altogether. But don’t think that means you can just hop on the bandwagon for any old cause; according to Fuse Marketing, 57 percent say “it’s more important that they personally care about the cause a brand is supporting than it is that a company just supports a cause.”

2. They have an 8-second attention span.

The 12-second Millennial attention span was scary to marketers, but the Gen Z span? That’s even more frightening. At just 8 seconds long, Generation Zers have the shortest attention span of all living generations—and holding their focus can be nearly impossible. Your best bet with this generation of youth is short, bite-sized messaging (think Twitter – remove “Think Twitter”) that can be read or seen on-the-go or while multi-tasking.

3. They know how to filter out unwanted media and traditional ads.

Because Generation Zers have grown up with the Internet, they’re extremely well-versed in its ways. They know how to use it effectively and efficiently, and they know how to filter out unwanted media, ads and other distractions that take away from their goals. More importantly? They also use ad blockers. According to CNBC, nearly 70 percent of all Generation Z youth are actively avoiding ads on the web.

4. They’re more mobile.

Generation Zers are more mobile than any generation that’s preceded them, and the reason’s pretty simple: They’ve had cell phones since (nearly) the day they were born. This has enabled them to be more transient—more on the go and hard to pin down. This has made it difficult for traditional marketers to reach them, as there just aren’t many placements guaranteed to catch their eye.

Reaching today’s Generation Zers can be a tall order—but it’s definitely possible. Consider using a tool like The Scholastic Network, which gives you a direct line to today’s teens. Reach up to 200,000 students 18x per day across the state, all with one platform.